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sampans hong kong culture heritage asia boats swim shorts

The story behind the Sampan designs

July 03, 2018

It’s 1970 in Hong Kong and you are standing by the waterfront of Aberdeen. Around you a metropolis of high rise buildings is beginning to emerge, punctuating the surrounding panorama like obtuse teeth. Yet, despite the encroaching blocks of modernity and urbanisation, the majority of the vista remains open and vast, allowing tantalising glimpses of Hong Kong’s fertile mountains.
On the land people cascade towards the water, scrambling onto boats as the frenetic hum of Hong Kong’s proud maritime culture permeates the air. Looking out you observe the water glistening in the morning sunlight, the golden rays reflecting off its glossy surface as boats from the harbour embark on their newest voyages, their passage fracturing the crystalline calm of the water.
It’s a dynamic scene ingrained in Hong Kong’s rich history, yet this vibrant snapshot could never have been a reality if not for the humble Sampan. The Sampan, a small flat bottomed wooden boat, is an enduring symbol of China’s maritime heritage and were traditionally used for fishing and short range transportation in Hong Kong. Bobbing along in the water, propelled by a single, long sculling oar known as a yuloh, the sampans possess a picturesque charm which makes them an iconic feature in Chinese culture.
As an integral part of Asian maritime history it was only fitting that the new collection feature a range of sampan designs. Dedicated to the sampans that bridged Hong Kong Island to Kowloon in the 70s, the designs are available in 3 colours ways. Each design represents a different time of the day when these water taxis would function.
The Sampans at Twilight swim shorts honour the drivers that took the shift between daylight and darkness. 
The Sampans at Sunset swim shorts honour the drivers that took the day shift and head home at sunset after a long day of work. 
Finally, the Sampans at Night swim shorts honour the drivers that took the night shift. Mostly commonly picking up partygoers from the Peninsula after a night out.  


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